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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 384-386

India's fight against COVID-19: Time to return to the basics?


1 Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Department of Cardiology, GB Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission11-May-2020
Date of Decision09-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication15-Oct-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mitasha Singh
Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_108_20

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How to cite this article:
Goswami S, Batra V, Singh M. India's fight against COVID-19: Time to return to the basics?. Int J Health Allied Sci 2020;9:384-6

How to cite this URL:
Goswami S, Batra V, Singh M. India's fight against COVID-19: Time to return to the basics?. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 21];9:384-6. Available from: https://www.ijhas.in/text.asp?2020/9/4/384/298107



Sir,

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, in many respects it had already begun.[1] The first case in India was detected on January 30, 2020, in Kerala, originating from China. In order to prevent the widespread community transmission, some of the toughest decisions had to be taken. Nonpharmaceutical interventions remain central for the management of COVID-19 because there are no licensed vaccines or coronavirus antivirals.[2] Social distancing was advised by the Government of India (GOI) when the country was in stage two of the infection.[3] Under Section 6 (2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the GOI imposed a complete lockdown of the country from March 25, 2020, and extended the ongoing lockdown till May 3. Although India has managed to be in the plateau zone of the pandemic curve, the curve is gradually rising.

Health is influenced by a number of factors, and COVID-19 has again taken us to the realization that “health care”implies more than “medical care.”Primary health care became a core policy for the World Health Organization in 1978, with the adoption of Alma-Ata declaration and the strategy of “Health for All.”Forty-two years later, despite the sweeping changes in the global health policy environment, the COVID-19 pandemic made us realize that the core principles of primary health care remain valid. Our country's efforts to fight against this pandemic emphasize building systems and strategies based on the four principles of primary health care.


  Equitable Distribution Top


The Indian Prime Minister's address to the country ensured a unified response to the pandemic. He appealed to the country people to take care of the elderly and those with preexisting disease, take care of poor families, and be compassionate toward employees for the protection of these vulnerable populations. The PM CARES Fund was set up to provide relief to the affected people.[3] Dedicated care is being provided to all irrespective of their caste, creed, gender, and geographic location.


  Appropriate Technology Top


Social distancing and lockdown measures are the most appropriate technology to interrupt human-to-human transmission. This pandemic has to be stopped by intelligence and speedy action.[4] Arogya Setu, a mobile-based application, is an appropriate technology which will empower all people. Development of this application is a bridge that connects people to health care in this epidemic. Surveillance and flow of information is the key to containment of any communicable diseases. India is continuously working on increasing its diagnostic ability and has expanded its testing laboratories and strategy both. Using strategies such as Kiosk testing has also shown positive results. Engineers of the country have prepared low-cost innovative personal protective equipment, testing kits, and sanitization equipment for health-care and frontline workers.


  Community Participation Top


Community surveillance plays a significant role in the prevention of the spread of the disease. Rapid response teams (with community participation) have been framed to trace and quarantine the infected people.[4] The role of community volunteers is crucial to remove apprehension and the negative attitude of the community toward the rapid response and contact-tracing teams.


  Inter-Sectoral Coordination Top


Several ministries are working together to fight back against COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence, Railways, Labour, Minority Affairs, Aviation, Tourism, Communication and Information Technology, and External Affairs.[4] The Ministry of AYUSH has also recommended a diet rich in natural foods with antioxidant properties such as turmeric, garlic, and herbal tea and practicing of yoga asana for healthy living.


  Lessons Learned Top


The concept of primary health care fits for all diseases. However, it is mistaken that it is relevant for the mother and child health sector only. It is COVID-19 which has taught us that the burden of almost every communicable and some noncommunicable diseases can be reduced by this concept.

All sectors and resources currently are working in a mission mode to combat one virus. The daily death reported due to this disease does not show the proportional mortality rate of this disease. Deaths due to other conditions are still prevalent. We have not reached a situation where 100% deaths in country are due to COVID-19. Hence, a huge burden in the form of other diseases and its economic impact has to be borne by the countrymen in future.

It is also not the sole responsibility of health-care workers to combat every disease or condition. COVID-19 prevention has taught us many behavioral changes, which is the responsibility of each citizen.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Corona Virus Disease Situation Reports. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situationn-reports. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 20].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Heymann DL, Shindo N. COVID-19: What is next for public health? The Lancet 2020;395:542-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Coronavirus Pandemic in India. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_India. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 20].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Containment Plan for Large Outbreaks Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India. Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Containmentplan16052020.pdf.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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